Visakhapatnam: The death toll due to devastating cyclonic storm Hudhud in Andhra Pradesh climbed to 21 on Tuesday with over 1.35 lakh people taking shelter in relief camps even as the port city of Visakhapatnam, worst hit in the calamity, is limping back to normalcy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit Visakhapatnam and undertake an aerial survey of the affected areas tomorrow afternoon.
The death toll mounted to 21 with 16 more bodies found today.
"A total of 15 deaths were reported from Visakhapatnam district, five in Vizianagaram and one in Srikakulam," Special Commissioner in state Disaster Management Department K Hymavathi told PTI.
Advisor (Communications) to the state government, Parakala Prabhakar told reporters this evening that most of the deaths occurred due to fall of trees.
Hudhud has moved inland is now a deep depression centred over south Chhattisgarh. Wind speed has also decreased considerably but heavy rains are likely to continue over north coastal Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Telangana, south Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, east Uttar Pradesh ands parts of Maharashtra will also receive rain fall in the next 24 hours.
The Centre is keeping a close watch. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Have been constantly taking updates on Cyclone Hudhud. Spoke to AP CM. Will visit Visakhapatnam tomorrow and take stock of the situation.”
Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to CMs of Bihar, Jharkhand,MP, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal to take stock of the situation.
“The States seem to be prepared for any eventuality arising from the impact of 'Hudhud' that is expected to bring heavy rains,” Singh posted on Twitter.
With the eye of the storm crossing the coast near Visakhapatnam, the teeming city of over two million people bore the brunt of its wrath. With no drinking water, milk and other essential commodities, people are facing severe hardships.
Communication and electricity lines are down in major parts of the city. Toppled trees, broken glass are strewn on the streets even as the district administration has begun operations on a war footing to clear the mess.
The Vizag airport that operates from naval airbase INS Dega bore the brunt of the cyclone. Strong gales damaged the roof of the airport building and flood water had entered the runway, forcing the authorities to suspend all operations, yesterday. While runway operations resumed today, the airport terminal, which has suffered serious damage, may require extensive repair before it becomes fully operational again. Visakhapatnam airport is the biggest domestic and international airport in Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the East Coast Railways (ECoR) is running a passenger special train between Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam as part of its efforts to restablish connectivity between the two stations.
The special train will stop at all stations between Palasa and Visakhapatnam, ECoR release said.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is in Visakhapathnam to access the damage and direct relief and restoration work in the region. He has demanded that Cyclone Hudhud be declared a national calamity and asked the Centre release Rs 2000 crore as interim relief.
Andhra government is focusing on bringing life back to normal in the districts of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram which bore the brunt of the cyclonic fury. The government said that district officials, heads of departments and every government employee would be on field for relief, restoration and rehabilitation works.
Indian army personnel are present in the affected area to assist in relief work.
A little over four lakh people--about 250,000 in four districts of AP and 156,000 in nine districts of Odisha--were evacuated to relief camps before Cyclone Hudhud made landfall.
With Agency inputs